Nature is the greatest of artists. We admire its creations and never cease to be amazed by the rich imagination that made this world so beautiful. But for most people this is the volatile beauty of the abstract. Only few have the gift of seeing the nature’s soul and capturing its elusive essence, while keeping the memory of the original impulse that woke up the fantasy. Is the artist a creator, or is he the one who sees through the essence? Does the artist create something new, or the power of his gift helps us to see things we were blind to? Again, these questions have no answer.
In this regard, Dilorom Mamedova’s artistic being is perfect, as it essentially does not depend on material environment. The usual cliché of “objective reflection of reality” can only apply to the artist’s works with a reservation. It depends on who interprets the concept and how. There is no denying that realism as a method does exist. Yet the method is no less idealistic than any other.
The artist should trust his intuition and reason, rather than follow the dictate of reality. This may lead Mamedova away from realism, as she depicts the world around – a place where the most ordinary man lives and works, pursuing activities that are not only modest in scale, but also grounded by the mundane, as a matter of fact. So, perhaps, this is what makes life so enchanting?
The artist’s free will is the choice between God and the real world, the rejection of malice, envy, and vanity, and the acquisition of spiritual force that gives him the right to create for people and overpower their souls. Mamedova chooses a conventional myth, colourful and realistic, which turns into a moving song about the land where the joy of being is as great as the universe itself. In her landscapes such as “A Trail in the Mountains”, “The Golden Fall”, and “Mountain Stream” we may feel the aspirations of Mamedova’s teachers – E. Tushakov, or artist B. Babaev who said, “An artist may be gifted, but his work does not touch the soul, does not move the viewer. Why does this happen? In my opinion, one of the reasons is in the artist’s fatigued senses and the loss of excited, loving attitude to life, the ability to observe it”. Mamedova put her soul in her canvases “Autumn in the Mountains” with so recognizable Pskem terraces overgrown with tree orchards, and “Mountain Brook” running through a nameless little village somewhere in the highlands of Kashkadarya.
In many dynamic landscape sketches of Mamedova, the play of sunbeams and the balance of colour spots clearly point to the influence (rather beneficial) of old masters of painting. Benkov’s reverent and gentle canvases and Karahan’s sunny yellow palette unconsciously manifest themselves in the “Old Nut-wood”, “My Childhood”, “SarchashmaVillage”, “Summer Day”, and “The Pond in the Evening”.
Mamedova’s ancestors cherished the art of atlaschi – the makers of atlas silk, as the foundation of the tribe’s survival and pride. One cannot be surprised by Mamedova’s love for mountain villages and people who live their lives in this spiritual constant. The “call of the wild” that survives in the soul genes ignites the master’s mind for whom the radiance of light is the mantras of the wise Zoroaster. During her numerous journeys to remote mountain villages, in the faces of the keepers of the way of life Mamedova searches for that forgotten something that relentlessly haunts man’s troubled dreams.
The artist must treat his gift as an opportunity entrusted to him, and be responsible for its positive realization before the super being that lives in his soul, as was exemplified by Rahim Akhmedov, Ruzy Charyev, Evgeniy Melnikov, Madhiddin Umarov, Konstantin Bogodukhov and other painters of Central Asia.
Look closely at Mamedova’s paintings “Evening in the Village”, “Hot Bread”, “For Lunch”, “Kitchen,” and you will be overwhelmed by the feeling of belonging to the pure and open world of life’s goodness. You will realize that all the art of the painter is subjected to her desire to keep the passing time, which, in fact, has been irretrievably lost, and at the same time pay tribute to traditional lifestyle.
In the art of D. Mamedova there was and has been only one ideological accent – the realism of life without any adjustment to time, showing the inner energy and uncontrollable emotions of sincerity “spilling over” in paints on the canvas.
The expression “realism of life” I heard for the first time in a conversation with Leah Man’kovskaya, a prominent historian of Central Asian architecture. To my comment on the heaviness and massiveness of the Bukhara monuments she responded that the architectural parameters were commanded by the realism of life. Cities, while bringing people together, also suppress them. According to Man’kovskaya, mosques or mausoleums outside the city, especially in the mountains, are in harmony with space: they are like gems in the frame of history. To fit the environment naturally, a building must breathe the spirit of its time. Villagers’ houses are closer to real life than urban high-rises. Villages have preserved humanism with its indestructible traditions of kindness, forgiveness and wisdom of people who have stood through the trials of life.
“Hay”, one of the most powerful works of D. Mamedova, captures the spirit of the space-time relationship. The picture perspicuously reveals the underlying philosophy of traditional lifestyle. Simplicity characteristic of her manner, and behind it an idea sharp as a lightning captivate those who sense with their heart and mind the passing realism of life. World as a habitat is a rural province with its challenging tasks and chores. Mamedova’s “Hay” can be compared to a quiet and soulful song about the land, its people and their preoccupations. It brings such a genuine revelation that only a thoughtful philosopher can make. This painting, along with “LangarVillage” can grace the collection of any museum.
Quite remarkable is Mamedova’s triptych called “Winter”. Along with the “WintryVillage”, it is one of her most successful paintings. Not only did the artist realistically depict winter season, but also communicate the thoughts of loneliness, aloofness and revery behind the frosty whiteness. When one looks at these winter landscapes and admires the beauty of the shimmering shades of white, some unspoken longing just would not let go. …Perhaps, the longing for realism that disappears from our life.
Like a good story are Mamedova’s “Children”, “A Long Road” and, of course, “Waiting”, where the open windows of the house, like the souls of those pictured in their openings, keep saying the sacred “Come”. The anticipation of something wonderful can be sensed in the “Narrow Streets”. One recognizes their national spirit.
One of the most impressive works of Mamedova is “Anor” (“Pomegranate”), which, like a hymn to motherhood and the power of natural beauty, has it all: philosophical ideas, nostalgic music, and awareness of being. The work is so realistic that it does not fit any “isms”.
Prediction made by formalists almost a hundred years ago seems to be coming true: modernist ornamentalism will be followed by the revival of traditional subject painting. This prediction is confirmed by many wonderful works of artists who started moving away from landscape without human being, for whose sake the artist shows the beauty of the world – but the world with the man as an essential element of harmony.